Danforth Center Announces New Principal Investigator

ST. LOUIS, MO, February 15, 2022– The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announced today that Armando Bravo, PhD, has joined as Assistant Member and Principal Investigator. His research focuses on the symbiotic relationship between plants and soil microbes, specifically ‘arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi’ (AMF) that live in tight association with roots. Various AMF help plants take up nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen from soil and to tolerate environmental stress. In exchange, plants offer up essential carbon-containing compounds necessary for AMF to grow. 

“The relationship between plants and mycorrhizal fungi has evolved over millions of years,” said Armando. “My lab will explore how the mechanisms of this mutually beneficial association work. How did this relationship evolve? How have these mechanisms been adapted to benefit the vast diversity of modern day plants that have this very important relationship with fungi?”

Armando Bravo, PhD, Assistant Member and Principal Investigator

Bravo’s research has the potential to make crop agriculture both more productive and more sustainable, specifically by lowering the needs for synthetic fertilizers and irrigation water. Development of technologies using AMF to improve the uptake of nitrogen, for example, could translate into less unintended run-off of nutrients from the farm, less greenhouse gas emissions, and improved soil quality. 

“We are thrilled that Armando Bravo has joined the Danforth Center,” said President and CEO, Jim Carrington, PhD. “His work to understand mechanisms of plant-AMF interactions is fascinating science, and it will elevate the Center’s contributions at the nexus of agriculture and the environment.”

Prior to joining the Danforth Center, Bravo served as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Boyce Thompson Institute in Ithaca, NY. He received his PhD in Plant Science at the University of Oxford in the UK, and earned His BS in Biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico.  

About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a nonprofit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education and outreach aim to have impact at the nexus of food security and the environment, and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and through the support of individuals and corporations. 

For additional information or images please contact:  Karla Roeber, kroeber@danforthcenter.org  314.406.4287